Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Lysander's Hope

Under various titles, these popular lines on "Hope" circulated pretty widely in magazines and newspapers during the late 18th century and early 19th century. Online, Mary S. Van Deusen indexes "Hope" with pieces that might have been written by her ancestor Henry Livingston, Jr. However, "Hope" had been uplifting readers in New England and the South for decades before before the poem appeared over the signature "R." in the December 13, 1817 issue of the New York Weekly Visitor and Ladies Museum. As supplied by "R." (probably not the genial farmer-poet of Poughkeepsie, then 69), the 1817 Weekly Visitor version lacks two stanzas of the usual six, and gives "cruel shock" in the last, instead of "cruel stroke." The earliest version I have located so far appeared in the March 1791 issue of the Massachusetts Magazine, contributed (and composed?) "At the request of a Lady" by "LYSANDER."


At the request of a Lady. 
AMID the varying scenes of life,
Where silent care and noisy strife,
     The shifting drama fill,
In this dark valley drown'd in tears,
Augmented by increasing years,
     Hope lights her taper still.

Altho the soul ride on the waves,
Where danger swims and terror laves,
     To fright the goddess, joy;
To save her from the rock, despair,
Hope is her steady anchor there,
     Credulity the buoy.

What though a deluge sink the ground,
Nought but the sea be seen around,
     And nought but heav'n above?
Like Noah, on the tide of grief,
The mind soon finds a sweet relief,
     From hope, her herald dove.

Should angry storm, or black'ning cloud,
In darkness our horizon shroud,
     To cheat us of the light;
Hope, ever active, ever nigh,
Lifts the black bonnet from the sky,
     And drives away the night.

If adverse winds, or eastern gale,
Wide o'er the field of pleasure sail,
     Its blossoms gay deface;
Hope eager flies and turns the vane,
Mild zephyrs breathe, the flow'rs again
     Appear with native grace.

Thus when the box of mis'ries broke,
Fair hope surviv'd the cruel stroke,
     Catholicon most sure;
For all the plagues that reach the mind,
And all the pains that vex mankind,
     Herself a ready cure.
Citation: LYSANDER. “HOPE.” Massachusetts Magazine, or, Monthly Museum of Knowledge & Rational Entertainment, vol. 3, no. 3, Mar. 1791, p. 185. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eup&AN=35909301&site=ehost-live.
Titled "Stanzas on Hope," the poem appeared again over the initials "A. L." in the May 1793 number of the Massachusetts Magazine.

Reprinted in the Halifax, North Carolina Journal on January 26, 1795:
Halifax North-Carolina Journal - January 26, 1795
Also reprinted in the February 24, 1798 issue of The Key (Frederick Town, Maryland):
“HOPE.” Key, vol. 1, no. 7, Feb. 1798, p. 55. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cps&AN=36678628&site=ehost-live.
And in the Peachem, Vermont Green Mountain Patriot on November 2, 1798:
Fri, Nov 2, 1798 – 4 · Green Mountain Patriot (Peacham, Vermont) · Newspapers.com
"Hope" also graces the Amherst, New Hampshire Village, December 1, 1798; Northampton, Massachusetts Gazette, October 15, 1800; and the Boston Intelligencer on January 27, 1816. Reprinted "from the Boston Evening Gazette" in the Norfolk, Virginia American Beacon on September 17, 1817.

 Related posts:

Tipple and Smoke

"We see, then, that the quaffing of burgundy or the smoking of Herba Santa is not, for Melville, an approach to stupefaction, but an act of cameraderie and a defense against the kinds of over-thinking that are sterile or destructive: Biz on the one hand, Empedoclean despair on the other."  --Aaron Kramer in Melville's Poetry: Toward the Enlarged Heart (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1972), page 36.
Chapter 17 in Volume 2 of Melville's Mardi; and, a Voyage Thither (1849) features one comic smoking song, sung by Yoomy the poet. Timoleon, Etc has a more ambitious tribute to tobacco, Herba Santa.

Here is an anonymous eighteenth-century favorite, "Tipple and Smoke," transcribed from The Comic Songster: Or Laughing Companion 4th ed. (London, 1789):


WITH a pipe of Virginia how happy am I,
And good liquor to moisten my clay standing by,
I puff up the smoke and it curls round the room,
Like a Phoenix I seem in a nest of perfume.
Is a pipe, and a friend who is fond of a joke,
Then happy together we tipple and smoke.

How pleasant it is thus to puff time away,
And between ev'ry whiff chat the news of the day:
Tobacco, great Raleigh, we owe to thy name,
And ev'ry true smoaker will puff up thy fame!
Is a pipe, and a friend that is fond of a joke,
Then happy together we tipple and smoke.

When buss'ness is over, we puff away care,
Let ev'ry man else say the same if he dare ;
This plant, so delightful's a foe to the spleen,
As it glows in the pipe it enlivens the scene:
Is a pipe, and a friend that is fond of a joke,
Then happy together we tipple and smoke.
While thus in the fumes we're envelop'd around,
Our heads are like hills which with clouds still are crown'd;
Yet soon we emerge, and go cheerful away,
For a pipe of the best makes us bright as the day:
Is a pipe, and a friend who is fond of a joke,
Then happy together we tipple and smoke.
Earlier collections with "Tipple and Smoke":

The festival of Momus, a collection of comic songs, including the modern and a variety of originals. Printed for W. Lane, Leadenhall-Street, [1780?]. Eighteenth Century Collections Online, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CW0116179191/GDCS?u=nypl&sid=GDCS&xid=59b38db1. Accessed 30 July 2019.
The universal songster or harmony and innocence: an elegant and polite selection of modern and approved songs. Many of which are not inserted in any other collection. Printed for W. Lane, [1785?]. Eighteenth Century Collections Online, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CW0116827942/GDCS?u=nypl&sid=GDCS&xid=2e9a0304. Accessed 30 July 2019.
 The pleasing songster: or, festive companion: containing a choice and approved collection of songs, That are now held in Esteem; The Whole calculated for the Entertainment of the Social Mind, Containing the Newest and most Agreeable Collection ever presented to the Public. Printed for W. Lane, Leadenhall-Street, MDCCLXXXVII. [1787]. Eighteenth Century Collections Online, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CW0113823534/GDCS?u=nypl&sid=GDCS&xid=de09d478. Accessed 30 July 2019.

The 1783 Bacchanalian Songster has a different, more spiritous tune that admits the pleasures of female society: "with a pipe and a glass / and a well favor'd lass."

Along with Hopkinson's A Fair Bargain, the British smoking song "Tipple and Smoke" is counted with miscellaneous poems that Livingston descendant Mary S. Van Deusen would ascribe, tentatively and conjecturally, to Henry Livingston, Jr.

Monday, July 29, 2019

A Fair Bargain by Francis Hopkinson

Francis Hopkinson. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1868 - 1869.
"A Fair Bargain" by patriot-poet, musician, and Declaration-signer Francis Hopkinson (1737-1791) was first published over the initial "H." in the April 1787 issue of the great Columbian Magazine, during Hopkinson's first stint as editor.
In 1782 the Devil begs the new United States of America, personified as the gorgeous goddess Columbia, to give him one State. Scorning the kind offer of Vermont ("already got it," in other words), Satan takes Rhode Island instead. A fitting and to the poet's mind fair bargain, since Rhode Island had devilishly opposed a 5 percent impost tax on imports.

In A History of Early American Magazines 1741-1789 (New York, 1931; reprinted Octagon Books, 1966), Lyon Norman Richardson lists "A Fair Bargain" as one of Hopkinson's contributions from  March to May 1787.

(Written in the year 1782.)
 AS Satan was taking an airing one day
Columbia's fair genius fell plump in his way,
Array'd like a goddess, and blooming as May.
Vile monster, said she, you oppose me in vain,
My people shall surely their wishes obtain;
You can but perplex us — and so mark the end on't,
For, sooner or later they'll be independant. 
What you say, quoth the fiend, I confess is too true,
But why not allow the poor devil his due?
Give me one of your states, and the rest shall be free
To follow their fate, unmolested by me.
Agreed! said the lady, if that's all you want,
Here take and enjoy it — it is my Vermont.
Oh! ho! exclaim'd Satan, how gen'rous you've grown,
So kindly to give, what's already my own.
So thank you for nothing, fair lady, I trow
The Devil is not to be bamboozled so. 
Come — down with your dust — you know what I mean.
I must have at least one of your fav'rite Thirteen.
A tear in her eye, and a sigh from her breast
The doubts and the fears of the genius confest;
But while she was puzzled, unable to find
Which state might with ease be to Satan resign'd,
The Five per cent. impost law popt in her mind.
This settled the point — she look'd up with a smile and
Presented his Fiendship the state of RHODE ISLAND.
He seiz'd the fair prize — cramm'd it into his pocket,
And darted away in a blaze, like a rocket.
"A Fair Bargain" was widely reprinted from the Columbian Magazine, for example in the Delaware Courant on May 12, 1787; Worcester Magazine Vol. 3, No. 8 (Fourth week in May, 1787), page 95; Country Journal and Poughkeepsie Advertiser, July 4, 1787; and American Museum Vol. 4 (August 1788), page 87.

Attributed to "Hopkinson" in the important anthology of early American poetry titled, The Beauties of Poetry, British and American (Philadelphia, 1791):
  •  http://name.umdl.umich.edu/N17951.0001.001
Throughout his political career Hopkinson wrote poetry and satire on the politically derisive [divisive] issues of the day. He penned a popular and humorous work on the 1787 Constitutional Convention. He was also an accomplished harpsichordist and composer. His work “My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free,” set to the words of Thomas Parnell’s “Love and Innocence,” is the first extant secular song by a native American composer. --Penn University Archives & Records Center
Without reference to Hopkinson, "A Fair Bargain" is counted with poems that Mary S. Van Deusen would ascribe, tentatively and conjecturally, to her ancestor Henry Livingston, Jr.

Related posts:

Monday, July 22, 2019

Tuckerman aka Knick on Israel Potter

As shown in a previous post, Melville's friend Henry T. Tuckerman contributed literary letters from New York City to the Boston Evening Transcript, regularly published over the pseudonym "Knick." The letter from Tuckerman aka "Knick" dated February 23, 1855 features a friendly plug for the forthcoming book version of Israel Potter as "delectable reading." (The serial version concluded in the March 1855 issue of Putnam's Monthly.) Not in Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews, ed. Brian Higgins and Hershel Parker (Cambridge University Press, 1995; paperback 2009), where the earliest notice of the book version is from the New Bedford Mercury on March 12, 1855.
Melville's new story, which has appeared in Putnam's Magazine, "Israel Potter," will be published in one neat volume, this week. Consecutively it reads well, and has some highly spirited and adventurous scenes, with a genuine American flavor. Paul Jones and nautical romance, when treated by such a writer as Melville, cannot fail to make delectable reading.  --Boston Evening Transcript, February 27, 1855; found in digitized newspaper archives at GenealogyBank.
Boston Evening Transcript - February 27, 1855 via GenealogyBank

The letter from "Knick" published in the Boston Evening Transcript on November 30, 1855 alludes to "Benito Cereno" in a survey of the December Putnam's:
"Melville's story is continued...."
Melville's 1856 volume The Piazza Tales gets this advance notice by "Knick" in the Boston Evening Transcript of April 4, 1856:
"The same house [Dix & Edwards] will publish soon the 'Piazza Tales,' by Melville."
Related posts:

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Omoo in Savannah

First item is from the Daily Georgian of May 17, 1847; found in the Georgia Historic Newspapers Archive. The Georgian was edited and published in Savannah by William H. Bulloch.

The Daily Georgian - May 17, 1847

New Publications.

Mr. John M. Cooper has received--

Omoo, A narrative of adventures in the South Seas. By Heman Melville, author of "Typee."

The previous work of the Author elicited unqualified praise from the press for its romantic tone--its classical images--its agreeable humor and racy style, one Editor calling it a work of even greater interest than Robinson Crusoe--another styling it a charming book--another a most refreshing book. Well, those who have not read "Typee" will hunt it up for perusal. Those who have will exercise some of Mother Eve's curiosity and turn over the pages of Omoo.
Second, from the Savannah Daily Republican of May 21, 1847; also found online in the archive of Georgia Historic Newspapers. The Republican was then owned and edited by Joseph L. Locke in partnership with Charles Davis.
Savannah Daily Republican - May 21, 1847
We have been favored by Col. WILLIAMS with the following new publications, which he has for sale: 
Omoo—A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas: by Herman Melville, author of Typee. All who have read Typee will not fail eagerly to snatch up this sequel to that highly fascinating narrative, which possessed at once the interest of a startling reality, and the charm of romance. It was very hard, for a long time, to convince the public that it was a real narrative, and not ideal one; but now that that doubt has been set at rest, the romantic interest is enhanced. No doubt his pictures are highly colored, yet they are drawn from nature, and nature too, divested of the superfluous drapery which civilization imposes upon more cultivated man. It is a charming book for after-dinner reading, when the mental appetite becomes epicurean. 
Also, Arthur Martin and Scripture Illustrated— both works for children, from the press of the Harpers'; as well as the 22d number of the Pictorial History of England, a work of great value and practical utility. Eighteen numbers more will complete it.

Wellcome Melville

Melville's Typee was first published in London by John Murray as the Narrative of a Four Months' Residence Among the Natives of a Valley of the Marquesas Islands; or, A Peep at Polynesian Life. In the Preface, the author admits he lost track of time. Melville actually spent four weeks on Nuku Hiva.

Available courtesy of Internet Archive, this copy of the first British edition is a digitized volume in the Wellcome Library.

For further study:
  • Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. "Typee manuscript" The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1845. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/6cf01560-6b83-0133-a129-00505686d14e 
  • Mary K. Bercaw Edwards, Questioning Typee. Leviathan Volume 11, Issue 2 (June 2009) pages 24-42.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Ebenezer Knight, 1811-1853

The First Voyage by H. C. K.
The Child's Paper - March 1854
The 3rd Norton Critical Edition of Moby-Dick, edited by Hershel Parker, excerpts the vivid 1846 reminiscence of Gansevoort Melville by Captain E. Knight (page 464). Captain Knight had accompanied Gansevoort with two others on a visit to Cambridge, England. The entry for Saturday, March 14th in Gansevoort's 1846 London Journal, edited by Hershel Parker (The New York Public Library, 1966), records their trip by 2nd class rail which included a tour of Trinity College Library. No mention there of any globe, large or small. According to Knight, however, Gansevoort made dramatic use of "an immense terrestrial globe suspended in the centre of one of the rooms," invoking the biblical story of Jacob and Esau to claim Oregon and California as America's "birthright."

Reminiscence of Gansevoort Melville (Herman's older brother) in Cambridge, England.Reminiscence of Gansevoort Melville (Herman's older brother) in Cambridge, England. Fri, Jun 5, 1846 – 1 · The Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, Maryland) · Newspapers.com
DEATH OF GANSEVOORT MELVILLE.-- A letter received by the Hibernia, from an eminent American merchant of London, bears the heavy tidings of the death of our beloved and distinguished fellow countryman, Gansevoort Melville, Esq, Secretary of Legation to the Court of St. James.

A correspondent of the New York Journal of Commerce says :

"My acquaintance with the honored deceased was short, but of such a character that, while I recollect any thing, it can never be forgotten. Added to a mind highly cultivated, a lively imagination, and chaste, correct taste, Mr. M. was gifted by nature with a noble bearing, a powerful intellect, great vital energy, and a determined spirit. He was the admiration of all who met him, and the pride of every American in London. His devotion to the best interests of our beloved country, his enthusiastic patriotism, his true and warm heart, commanded the love and lasting friendship of all who were honored with his acquaintance. His great theme of conversation while at London was America,-- her institutions, her people, and her future prospects and glory. 
During the month of March last, I had the pleasure of riding many miles, visiting many places, and spending many days and nights, in his company. I shall never forget our visit to Cambridge. Passing under the same archways, along the same walks, through the same doors and halls, which were so familiar once to many great men, we finally arrived at the Library rooms, when Mr M. walking up to an immense terrestrial globe suspended in the centre of one of the rooms, and placing his hand upon it, said, Look here, gentlemen, and see if any American can carefully examine the map of our globe, and not feel a gratitude and just pride at seeing the geographical position our country holds upon its face. Here lies Asia and the whole East, with its immense wealth. There is the mouth of the Columbia River, almost as near Canton as London is to New York. Now here is a little speck called Europe, upon the Eastern shores of the Atlantic, and a smaller speck on its Western shore called New England, including New York city, which have ever held the trade of this immense region, at the expense of passing Cape Horn, or the Cape of Good Hope, the South Atlantic, Indian Ocean, &c. &c-- "Look here," said he, "and tell me if any American can give up, or barter away the valley of the Columbia, and not, Esau like, sell his birthright?" 
There will be suitable notice taken, and mention made of his worth and virtues, by those able to do them justice; but never (out of his immediate family,) will he be more sincerely mourned, than by the very humble individual who, in great grief, has penned these lines, and who was once permitted to call him Friend
E. K.
Originally signed "E. K." and published in the New York Journal of Commerce, Knight's tribute to Herman Melville's older brother Gansevoort was reprinted in the Albany Argus on June 4, 1846; and the day after that in the Baltimore Sun. A condensed version appeared in the Boston Evening Transcript on June 5, 1846.

Encountering the Baltimore Sun version, I wondered about that "immense terrestrial globe" (where is it now?) and Captain Knight's first name (E for Earnest? Edward? Evert?). I don't know about the globe, but Captain E. Knight is Ebenezer Knight,1811-1853. Sometimes spelled Ebinezer. Aka "Eben" Knight according to the online memorial at Find A Grave.
  •  https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/151674190
Ebenezer Knight was born on July 2, 1811 in Corinth, Vermont to Hannah Hale and Joseph Knight. As published in the Columbian Centinel on June 27, 1835, Captain Ebenezer Knight married Anzolette Hussey (1812-1895) in Portsmouth, NH.

Anzolette Hussey's Sampler
National Museum of American History - Smithsonian Institution 
The fullest family tree on Ancestry.com names five daughters of Eben and Ann: Mary Anzolette Knight (1836-1851); Ariadne (Annie) Knight (1838-1874); Hannah E. Knight (1842-1848); Sarah K. Knight (1846-1847); and Abby M. Knight (1850?-1918). Abby is Abigail Maria, later Abby Knight McLane. (In 1887 Abby married Allan McLane, widowed husband of her sister Ariadne.)
  • https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/3069096/person/24210140278//facts
  •  https://sites.rootsweb.com/~knight57/direct/knight/aqwg1385.htm
New York Herald - February 3, 1845
Known for his "gentlemanly" conduct, Knight was a popular captain of the Switzerland and other packet ships to London and Liverpool.

Fri, Dec 17, 1847 – 4 · Liverpool Mercury, etc. (Liverpool, Merseyside, England) · Newspapers.com

When his tribute to Gansevoort appeared in New York newspapers, Captain E. Knight's "Excellent" portrait (No. 238) by G. W. J. was on exhibit at the National Academy (New York Farmer and Mechanic, June 25, 1846).

In 1850-1851, Knight successfully agitated for repeal of the ban on fires and lights aboard ships in Liverpool docks (Honolulu Friend, July 2, 1852). In San Francisco he served for three years as agent of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company. Captain Eben Knight was long remembered by evangelical Christians for arranging that Pacific Mail steamers would not depart on the Sabbath.
No sooner had Captain Knight entered his office here, than he saw what havoc the sailing of steamers made of the Sabbath, when that happened to be the sailing-day. All early Californians know what "steamer-day" meant in those days. It put everybody to work. The steamship-office was besieged from morning till night. Express-offices were crowded, and their messengers and teams were running in hot haste all day. All banks were open, doing a rushing business, with merchants calling for bills of exchange, and miners depositing their bags of gold-dust and taking their certificates; passengers about leaving, hurrying to get their "last things" for the voyage, and going early aboard to receive there the " good-by calls" of friends; everybody writing letters home, and crowding them into the post-office up to the last moment; newsboys crying their "steamer papers" for sale all about the streets; while merchants and clerks were closing their final dispatches to go by Wells and Fargo; and then, at the hour of sailing, the crowd of passengers on the steamer's deck answer to the noisy farewells of the still larger crowds gathered on the wharf, and the great ship glides out into the bay, — and that "steamer day's" excitement is over. Captain Knight at once determined that "steamer day" should not occur on Sunday.  --Samuel Hopkins Willey, The History of the First Pastorate of the Howard Presbyterian Church, San Francisco (San Francisco: The Whitaker and Ray Company, 1900), pages 78-79.
"Eben" Knight died on October 11, 1853 at the age of 42. As also reported by Samuel H. Willey, Knight's eulogy by the business community of San Francisco highlights "noble" qualities of character like those that "E. K." appreciated from a brief acquaintance with Gansevoort Melville.
The high respect and honor in which he was held by the bankers and merchants is touchingly expressed in resolutions adopted at a meeting held by them soon after his death, one of which was as follows: —

"Resolved, That Captain Knight combined in his character in an eminent degree those noble, manly qualities which entitled him not only to the respect and confidence but to the affectionate regard of all who knew him best. 
"With a firm integrity of purpose which never faltered, with a keen sense of honor which scorned an evasion, with a straightforward honesty which resorted to no subterfuges, he combined with simplicity of heart a frankness of demeanor which commanded the respect whilst it secured the affectionate esteem of all with whom he was brought into contact. Scrupulously just in his business relations, generous almost to a fault when his sympathies were appealed to, gentle and confiding in his temper, always ready to forgive a fault in others, he judged harshly only of his own imperfections."

That characterization, be it remembered, was drawn by the business men of San Francisco, not especially his personal friends,— but who could have drawn his character more true to life? Knowing him well, I bear witness to its accuracy in every particular. 
-- The History of the First Pastorate of the Howard Presbyterian Church, San Francisco, page 81. <https://books.google.com/books?id=8XMUAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA81&dq#v=onepage&q&f=false>
Portsmouth Journal of Literature and Politics - December 3, 1853

Another authorship mystery

My best conjecture: this noteworthy 2008 essay was really a collaborative effort by Steven Olsen-Smith, Hershel Parker, Dennis Marnon, and John Bryant.

1852 Moby-Dick mention in Spirit of the Times

Herman Melville: The Contemporary Reviews, ed. Brian Higgins and Hershel Parker (Cambridge University Press, 1995; paperback 2009) has the very favorable review of Moby-Dick published in the New York Spirit of the Times on December 6, 1851. The humorous contribution by "Providence," transcribed below, appeared one year later. From the Spirit of the Times, December 11, 1852:

Passing by the wharves, the other day, I heard two honest tars discussing the merits of Herman Melville's work, "Moby Dick," as follows:--

"Jack," said one, "I don't see the reason why this fellow don't tell his story without so much palavering, and out of the way work?"

"Why, you see, Tom," replied the other, "them chaps what writes them books gits so much a line for all they writes, and so, in course, they spins it out as long as they can."

Tom appeared satisfied, and I have no doubt your readers will be, with this very lucid explanation.

I was reading a book the other day where the individual "wot did the pirate" was described as having "iron lips," and then on the next page as "biting them till the blood came." What penetrating grinders that young man must have possessed. 
Yours ever,
“A Couple from ‘Providence.’” Spirit of The Times, vol. 22, no. 43, Dec. 1852, p. 508. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=hss&AN=51528169&site=ehost-live.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

For lovers of the wild and wonderful

Philadelphia Inquirer - November 15, 1851
From the Philadelphia Inquirer of November 15, 1851; found at GenealogyBank with items added "within 1 month":
Mr. W. B. Zieber has just received "Moby-Dick, or the Whale," a novel by Herman Melville, the author of Typee. It occupies a volume of upwards of six hundred pages, and abounds with thrilling incidents, hair-breadth escapes, and remarkable adventures. It is especially suited for the lovers of the wild and wonderful.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Literature on the Ohio

Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. "“Hawthorne and his mosses”"
The New York Public Library Digital Collections
. 1850.
As reviewed in our last, Herman Melville either initiated or acquiesced to the un-naming of Mr. Cutlets, just a friend in the 1856 book version of Bartleby. Such changes are treated as dubious and occasionally dispensable "instances of toning down" in the 1987 Northwestern-Newberry edition of The Piazza Tales. More examples occur in the extant manuscript of "Hawthorne and His Mosses (copied by Melville's wife Elizabeth). Here is the unfiltered version of Melville's patriotic take-down of bardolatry as fundamentally un-American:
You must believe in Shakespeare or quit the country. But what sort of a belief is this for an American, a man who is bound to carry republican progressiveness into Literature, as well as into Life? Believe me, my friends, that Shakespeares are this day being born on the banks of the Ohio. And the day will come, when you shall say who reads a book by an Englishman?
The Northwestern-Newberry text keeps one instance of toning down in Melville's added qualifier, "that is a modern." Specifying "modern" makes the assertion more reasonable (since well-educated world-citizens must always read Chaucer and Milton, for example) but softens the parody of Sydney Smith's query, "who reads an American book?" The rawest version of the passage would omit three qualifying clauses--all added in revision, all printed in the Literary World on August 17, 1850.
  • "Shakespeare's inapproachability" instead of Shakespeare
  • "men not very much inferior to Shakesepare" instead of Shakespeare
  • "that is a modern" qualifying "Englishman"

Hawthorne and His Mosses
Literary World - August 17, 1850

... men, not very much inferior to Shakespeare, are this day being born on the banks of the Ohio.
Shakespeares are this day being born on the banks of the Ohio.
Cincinnati in 1841 via NYPL Digital Collections
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. "Cincinnati in 1841." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1841. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-7c6d-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Un-named in revision

 Bartleby, this is a friend....
The 1856 book version of Bartleby makes a nameless "friend" of the "broad meat-like" grub-man, whom Melville originally called "Mr. Cutlets" in the December 1853 issue of Putnam's Monthly Magazine. In the magazine version, the narrator introduced the grub-man by name:
 "Bartleby, this is Mr. Cutlets; you will find him very useful to you."

After revision, Mr. Cutlets is just "a friend."
"Bartleby, this is a friend; you will find him very useful to you." --The Piazza Tales

Also deleted in revision, the invitation to dine privately with both Cutlets, Mr. and Mrs.
"May Mrs. Cutlets and I have the pleasure of your company to dinner, sir, in Mrs. Cutlets' private room?"
The un-naming of Mr. Cutlets and deletion of his dinner invitation have been noted before, of course. Dismissing the Cutlets business as "inappropriate slap-stick," Egbert S. Oliver in the 1948 Hendricks House edition of The Piazza Tales (page 230) gives its judicious "removal" as "one of the principal revisions that Melville made in this story in preparing it for book publication." The Cutlets are back in the text of the 1987 Northwestern-Newberry edition of The Piazza Tales and Other Prose Pieces, 1839-1860. As discussed there in the notes (page 579), the N-N editors reject this and other revisions as suspiciously inartful and un-Melvillean "instances of toning down."

For further study:

Friday, July 5, 2019

Incurably irreligious

Found via EBSCO in the American Antiquarian Society Historical Periodicals Collection, specialized database of Congregational, Presbyterian, and Reformed Church Periodicals, 1803-1902. Transcriptions are mine.

From The Presbyterian, November 29, 1851. Published in Philadelphia by William Stockton Martien.
MOBY-DICK, or the Whale. By Herman Melville, author of "Typee," "Omoo," "White Jacket," &C. New York, 1851, Harper & Brothers. 12mo, pp. 634,

We are sorry to say that Mr. Melville has not improved in the religious features of his works. With a power of description almost unequalled, with a ready inventive faculty not often surpassed, he is incurably irreligious, and even seems to seek occasions to make things sacred the subjects of his irreligious wit. There is very much in this volume which is amusing and instructive, but we are so often repelled by his improper and indelicate allusions, that we can no more commend this book than we could Typee and Omoo.
“MOBY-DICK, or the Whale.” Presbyterian (Philadelphia, PA 1831-1874, 1876), vol. 21, no. 48, Nov. 1851, p. 192. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cpp&AN=85450049&site=ehost-live.
From The Presbyterian, March 24, 1855:
ISRAEL POTTER; his fifty years of Exile. By Herman Melville, author of "Typee," "Omoo," &c. New York, G. P. Putnam & Co. 12mo, pp. 276.
The general irreligious tendency of Melville's writings have been a great off-set in the minds of many to their undoubted merits as works of genius. We observe less of this bad quality in the present, than appeared in some of his former books. The author undertakes, in this volume, to give the history of a rough New England hero, who made his bow to the public about the time of the battles of Bunker Hill and Lexington, was taken prisoner to the old world, and went through a series of most marvellous adventures. Melville's pen does full justice to the fruitful theme. 
“ISRAEL POTTER; His Fifty Years of Exile.” Presbyterian (Philadelphia, PA 1831-1874, 1876), vol. 25, no. 12, Mar. 1855, p. 48. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cpp&AN=83553065&site=ehost-live.
Related post: